THE BALEARIC CUP: WE DON’T LIKE CRICKET – WE LOVE IT!
Today in my ‘Confidential’ column I will be pretty much concentrating on Mallorca Cricket Club’s exciting victory in last weekend’s Balearic Cup competition held in Minorca.
First of all, for all you non cricket loving readers, rest assured that I will not be giving a blow-by-blow account of the matches played on Friday – Saturday and Sunday, just a flavour of what occurred and the eventual outcome of this much loved competition. However, first of all I must give you some background information.
As Mallorca Cricket Club does not currently have a ground in which to play cricket, its officials reluctantly had to pass the baton of hosting this years competition to Minorca CC who accepted the challenge with good grace and understanding. Frustratingly for Mallorca cricketers, since the club were asked to leave it old ground on the outskirts of Magalluf, nothing, yet nothing has happened to the site of the old ground.
Although the entrances and exits are blocked by very large boulders, the clubhouse and ground itself although overgrown with weeds and slowly falling apart – nothing has happened in terms of the much lauded development of this tract of land.
For the past two seasons and more, Mallorca CC cricketers have cobbled together practice matches on various football pitches across the municipality of Calvia or just on car-parks and wasteland across the island – always looking over their shoulders of the next soccer team to shove them off, even though the ground(s) have been booked in advance. Indeed, I don’t think that I need elaborate to anyone who has one iota of interest in sport, as to how frustrating and surprisingly humiliating this situation had become.
Despite all this, last weekend I am proud to say that a Mallorca CC squad took on and beat the best that Minorca CC and Ibiza CC could throw at them and emerged as the champions of these Balearic Islands.
On Friday last – Minorca took on Ibiza CC and beat them comfortably in the opening match of this annual competition. With the arrival of the Mallorca squad on Saturday when they were to play Ibiza CC all was set for an interesting encounter. Many a good judge (Me!) wondered out loud if all the inter-club training, and drills would come to nought, given the fact that both Ibiza and particularly Minorca have had plenty of competitive cricket under their belts already this spring and Mallorca none at all.
However, after posting a forty over score of more than 260 runs, Mallorca’s finest then skittles out Ibiza for 71 runs all-out – victory for Mallorca CC with Ben Vickers hitting a spectacular 143 runs. Still, many thought that last years champions Minorca CC would be too experienced and ‘knowing’ to let Mallorca’s young team take them apart as they did Ibiza. How wrong could they be? Fortunate, to win the ‘toss’ on both match days Mallorca CC proceeded to post another impressive score of 241 after 40 overs played.
The batting on Sunday was spread much more throughout the team with at least three young ‘tourists’ making impressive Balearic Cup debuts. With Minorca enjoying home advantage and a very experienced and well-drilled team, those of faint heart (again Me!) felt that with very little actual match practice Mallorca CC’s young team could struggle.
Happily, this not quite the way it all worked out. Over these two ‘pressure’ games, both batsmen and then bowlers left nothing to chance, despite their collective inexperience the team comprehensively thumped Minorca CC in a way that that venerable club has never been beaten before, certainly in an all-to-play-for Balearic Championship match.
Cue, wild youthful excitement and vibrant celebration from the ‘boys’ and not a few discreet tears from one or two delighted and proud committee ‘blazers,’ scorers and officials. I know that youth isn’t everything; but it don’t half-make-a-difference when your youngest players are 17 years of age (two of them!)and your ‘oldest’ players is only just north of forty I can tell you. Say no more!
Nevertheless, for the shrinking membership of the MCC this could be just a pyrrhic victory – as in name only – for we still don’t have a ground and perhaps even more importantly we don’t seem to have a prospect of one either. At this stage, in this long term saga, cricketers in Majorca would be happy enough, just to get some sort of guarantee for a soccer ground to play cricket on occasionally without being turfed-off prematurely, not perfect, but we just want somewhere, anywhere, to play with some sort of certainty.
Up until now, Mallorca Cricket Club has mostly dealt with Calvia Council in its quest for a new ground – and or facilities. Indeed, two people (they know who they are) have gone out of their way to help and support us, but I guess with cricket barely on most Majorcan’s sporting radar and the present cost of land and real-estate we could all be living in a sort of dream world. Other municipalities have been tentatively approached, but no ‘takers’ so far on that score, but we will keep trying.
Apart from the actual cricket, in the 25 years or more that MCC were active, the club did an awful lot to attract thousands of off-season visitors to the island in the months February to May and then September to early November and do you remember those fantastic Bonfire Night’s we used to organise for so many years? However, this may be hard to believe, but the absolute cherry-on-the-cake in all of this, has been the fact that Calvia Council have suddenly found out – or somehow discovered that Mallorca Cricket Club has never been properly ‘registered’ after god knows how many years of community and sporting activity.
Worse is still to come I’m afraid dear reader, believe it or not, we have been told that the paper-shufflers and inky-fingered stamp wielders want even more ‘paperwork’ from us. You know the one don’t you? Yes, that’s right, the one that they told you that you didn’t need last year, and the year before that…. ad-nauseam, until death us do part.
Oh well, that’s me just buggering up any slim hope of a new ground I suppose. Anyway, I am so proud of our lads, all the rest of it can go-hang – what say you?